As the traditional flower of Easter, the lily longiflorum is highly regarded as a joyful symbol of beauty, hope and life.

Two of the greatest charms of the lilium longiflorum, or Easter lily, are natural form and fragrance of this well-loved spring plant.

Here are some tips for choosing healthy plants that will last throughout the holiday season and beyond:

Like most plants, when selecting an Easter lily look for high-quality plants that are aesthetically pleasing from all angles.

When selecting a plant, choose one that is medium to compact in size, well balanced and proportionate.

By selecting buds in various stages of development, you are able to enjoy your plant for a longer season. The best selection would be a plant with just one or two open or partly open blooms and three or more ripe buds of different sizes.

The plant foliage should appear dense and plentiful, all the way down to the soil line. This is a good indicator of an active, healthy root system. An abundance of dark, rich green foliage is not only attractive, but a vital sign of good plant health.

As the lily flowers mature, remove the yellow anthers. This will allow for a longer flower life and prevent the pollen from staining the white flowers as well as nearby linens and furnishings. When a mature flower starts to wither, simply trim away the blossom.

In the home, Easter lilies prefer moderately cool temperatures. The lily will thrive near a window in bright, indirect natural daylight.

Easter lilies prefer to be kept moderately moist, in well-drained soil. Water the plant thoroughly, when the soil surface feels dry to a light touch. Always be mindful of too much water.

After the last bloom has spent, you can continue to grow your Easter lily for years to come. Once the lilies have finished flowering, place the potted plant in a sunny location. Continue to water thoroughly as needed and add one teaspoon of slow release osmocote fertilizer every six weeks.

You may be rewarded with a second bloom later this summer, but most likely you will have to wait until next spring to see your Easter lilies bloom once again.

Before the first frost, move your plant to a cool, dark location indoors. Bring the plant back into the light six weeks prior to Easter celebrations.

For many, the spiritual essence of Easter is shown by the beautiful white trumpet shaped flowers which symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life.

The significant, trumpet-shaped, fragrant white flowers make a meaningful gift that embodies the very essence of the celebration.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. She is the owner and founder of Northern Elegance. Contact her at shari.morash@gmail.com.